Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Battling Guilt and Other Good Reads

I have what I like to call Small Business Guilt. It means that I have a really, really hard time taking time off. An hour here or there I can do, a healthy 5 hours of sleep a night, I can do. Going to the movies, or the grocery store, sometimes but I still get anxious. Now, taking a full on vacation, that makes my chest feel like it is going to cave in. But, since our summer is completely and totally shot, it's now or never for us to take 4 days off work. We're going to Frisco, North Carolina to sleep with ponies on the beach with some of Doug's very best friends and their families. 
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I haven't always been like this. Before I owned my own business, I took time off all the time. Probably too much, because let's be real here, I hate working 9-5, or in my case it was 4am-2pm. I hate clocking in, and feeling like my whole day is blown because I have to work late or whatever. I didn't care about requesting a week off for a road trip, or a stay-cation in my house eating pizza, sleeping in and reading on the porch until my eyes hurt. I guess because it was always just "a job" but now it's more than that. We love what we do, and it's really difficult to take time off. BUT, we just finished up a pretty hefty wholesale order for our Japanese distributor that will be on its way tomorrow, and for the most part are caught up on orders in our Etsy shop. I have about 15 more sunglasses to ship out on Friday, and then there is no turning back. I have three bathing suits I plan on living in, blog posts scheduled, a dog/house sitter who hilariously responded to my inquiry about what food I can buy her, that she only eats "lobster, caviar and smart water," a new camera, my watercolors and these four books I plan on starting and finishing during our trip.

Do you feel small biz owners guilt for taking time off? How do you counter it? Any tips on battling the guilt?
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I picked up all of these used, but I will leave links to each book, in case you want to join along in my reading adventure and also forego responsibility for a few days. The first book I got is The Way the Crow Flies by Anne Marie MacDonald. I love books told from a kids perspective, and books set in the 50s, 60s or 70s. That time frame seems to be kind of magical. This book has both, so I'm sure I'll love it.
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The next is The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima. A band of savage thirteen year old boys in post world war 2 Japan. That's all I have to say to know it's good. 
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The next is a collection of short stories. I am pretty on the fence when it comes to shorts, because they are either really good, or really terrible, and I can't say I like them more when they're good because then they end. I, like most of the world, hates when a good thing ends. The Vintage Book of Contemporary Short stories seems like a really pretentious title, but I'm going with it because I like the cover. Also, I may have already read this, we'll soon find out. 

I do that often, by the way. Read a book I have already read, and sometimes I don't remember I've read it until the end. I told you, my brain is fried. Damn you, early twenties. And lastly, Little Bee by Chris Cleave. I guess after reading more reviews, it's slightly political, which I didn't get from the back sleeve or the cover. I am going to be open to it, and see where it goes, but it seems mysterious and the reviews call it brutal. Yikes!
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I have a mountain of a to-do list but I feel achy and stressed, so I thought I would sit and share my beach books with you. Have you read any good books lately? I'd love to know!

xo,

40 comments:

  1. i liked little bee a lot. it is pretty brutal, but good.
    i take time off all the time because i have a dumb 6 am to 2 pm job so i have no guilt taking time off. i hope you have a great trip and are really able to relax!

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  2. Enjoy your time off :) I never take days off anymore, I can't really afford too. I cherish the one day i get off every blue moon or so.

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    1. I hope you get a day off soon.

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  3. i feel you on not being able to take off. most of my work is freelance, but even when i'm not "at work" i can't stop working!

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    1. i dont even know what it feels like to not be at work anymore....

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  4. I am totally where you're at right now. I mean I work a 9-to-5 but I also have a blog and a small vintage store on Etsy with my best friend. Basically I've scheduled away my free time and I love it most of the time but some days it's just too much. Enjoy your vacation it is well deserved.

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    1. thanks Bekah, we're going to try! Scheduling away free times makes us all sound like adults. uggggh.

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  5. Hi! I had a coffee shop (non profit shop, but still) that I started with 4 of my friends. We opened the 16th of July on 2011 and it was been already 1 year that I was working pretty hard for it (with my courses in university). Since the day we oppened, it was a real success and from now on. I quit, because I wanted to focus on my studies and I was proud of what I brought to this beautiful coffee place. BUT, it took me months of «not working but going to school» to dont feel the guilt! I tell you, I was sitting down and reading, and bang, their was that awkward feeling of anxious in me. Well, I feel free now and my mind is setting up for new projects! -sorry for my english, i'm from Quebec.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, it means a lot to me that I am not the only person feeling this kind of guilt/stress. I don't want to quit doing this, but I do need to find a balance between work and life!
      xo
      B

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  6. Little Bee is absolutely devastating. I started it at the beach, too, but it took me months to get through. It's beautifully written, important, compelling, and heart-wrenching. In fact, a year later, it still haunts me. I recommend it for its beauty and power, but just be ready to be punched in the gut.

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  7. I read Little Bee too, it had one very shocking part, but otherwise it's a very good read too. Enjoy!

    blueeyednightowl.blogspot.com

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    1. It seems like everyone has read Little Bee except me!

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  8. I feel you on not being able to take time off! I'm trying to go visit friends in July for TEN days this summer--I haven't seen them in years and they are getting together to hang out on the beach, explore, and do awesome stuff. I have no idea how I'm going to be able to stop working long enough to go. =[

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    1. I'm definitely bringing work with me. eek.

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  9. I've just popped the Mishima book onto my Amazon wishlist - sounds right up my street. Can't wait to see what you get up to on your break!
    At the moment I have a bog standard 9-5 job and I've been taking as much time off as possible to retrain - as a florist! It's all I want to do and I can imagine I'll feel the same as you if and when I can make it happen :-) x

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    1. That sounds awesome! I've always loved floral work. Good luck!

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  10. I have to tell you that I feel the guilt too. More so on the small scale every day. Some weeks I come home from my day job and I just don't have it in me to do anything other than sit on the couch with my dog and watch Hulu. But I feel this nagging guilt in the back of my mind saying 'you should be printing order right now, you are a back shop owner.' It's REALLY hard for me to take these mental health breaks. But I also felt bad about taking our 2 week vacation. It was more anxiety than guilt at that point. All of my orders were shipped, but placing my shop on vacation was so anxiety producing. I was so worried that I would come back and the steady flow of sales would have come to a halt due to my 2 week absence. Thankfully, that didn't happen. But it totally weighed on my mind for the first 3-4 days on vacation.

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    1. Because our work is made to order, we don't have to put our shop on vacation, but it's still super stressful. Sometimes I work all day, and then take a dinner break and go back to work, so I'm really really ready for a vacation...

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  11. I'm unemployed and so my guilt comes from feeling like I'm not contributing to myself and my husband's welfare. I'm so happy you get to go to Frisco. I've stayed in the Outer Banks three times with my husband's family. It felt like a second home. If you're looking to get a tattoo, go to Hatteras Ink. That guy is an amazing artist. I hope he's still there. Some people may have moved after the last hurricane.

    sloan_gray at yahoo dot com

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    1. Oh rad! I can't wait to go. And I totally get the unemployed this, it's really really stressful.

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  12. i haven't read 'the way the crow flies' but i did read ann-marie macdonald's 'fall on your kness' and it was absolutely exquisite. life shattering. maybe i am exaggerating, but it is one of my favourite books. ever. also 'lullabies for little criminals' by heather o'neill (also canadian) was pretty fantastic as well. anyways.
    also, i understand it is your anniversary! congratualtions! happy day! enjoy your holiday and don't feel guilty. you deserve it!
    xo
    k
    frou-frou-foxes.blogspot.ca

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  13. I read Little Bee a while ago.. Oh men. That book is really something. I just remember crying a lot.

    Enjoy your books!

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    1. I'm going to give it a go tomorrow...I guess I should get ready.

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  14. I think its wonderful you're taking some time off! We all need it! I just finished The Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeannette Walls. it was FANTASTIC.
    xoxo

    p.s. teacups sent me over to wish you happy tumbleweed anniversary!

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  15. "I told you, my brain is fried. Damn you, early twenties." This is hilarious to me because I was just thinking this... I'm currently trying to read books between creating/work and as soon as I open one, I can't seem to feel anything other than fried and unfocused. So I blamed it on the fact that I'm 24. HA! Not that I even have much of a social life anymore... it's just a good excuse to me.

    Have a wonderful R&R time with your ponies, man, bathing suits, books, friends, and family. It'll feel so good to come back to work I'm sure, but time to let go because you guys deserve it!

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  16. Sweet, sweet goodness is all I can say! Put your feet up you two, you deserve an awesome break. Hey Beca, probably not a good time to ask, but do you guys do frames for reading glasses to?

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  17. Did you read any of Little Bee? Did you like it?

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  18. This comment is totally late, so I hope you had a nice & relaxing break! You guys totally deserve it.

    I know how you feel with not wanting to take a break, though. I'm CONSTANTLY knitting/crocheting or coming up with ideas for new items for my shop. I mean I don't have a fraction of the sales that you guys do, ha, but I like to constantly be making things. It's hard to just set it aside & take a break.

    Did you enjoy the book? I'm always looking for new books to check out! Gah, I love reading. That's one thing I make sure I do every day... read a bit before bed. Sometimes I like to just lay in bed and read for a few hours, when I can. It's just so... awesome, ha.

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